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Hebrew Infintive Construct

Hebrew Infintive Construct

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Published by steffen han
A investigation into the base and mechanism of vowels in the Hebrew verbs.
A investigation into the base and mechanism of vowels in the Hebrew verbs.

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Published by: steffen han on Jul 25, 2012
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The Infinitive Construct: ‫לִבְּנוֹת‬

7.1 Usages of the Infinitive Construct: ‫הפועל בונים‬ Much like the full Infinitive of English, the Infinitive Construct in Hebrew is used: i. as subject of a verb (substantive use of the Infinitive Construct);

ii. as object of a verb (predicative use of the Infinitive Construct); iii. to offer complementary clause to the controlling verb.
‫ברוך בשם‬ Steffen Han June 2011 revised.

iv. to express purpose (such as to, in order to, for the purpose of): The infinitive may be used to express the purpose or goal of the action or state of being of its controlling verb. It answers question such as "Why?" which looks ahead to the anticipated and intended result. v. to denote an action which is about to happen, generally the outcome (or ramification), produced by the controlling verb prompting a sense of urgency. This usage is usually used with


Hebrew Verbal System

‫( הָיָה‬to be, expressing a relationship, quality, condition or

situation; a verb quite similar but not identical in usage to the verb to be in English);
vi. to express a temporal idea: when, while, etc; vii. for instrumental, obligatory, or manner of expression. 7.2 Additional Notes: How to Use the Infinitive Construct a. The Infinitive Construct could be used as a noun and a verb. It may, unlike Infinitive Absolute, take both subjects and objects. A noun following an infinitive may be either the subject or object, though the subject is more likely. Pronouns may be suffixed to the infinitive. b. Inseparable preposition like ‫ )כלב( כ ,ל ,ב‬could be attached to the front of the verb as shown in the sample word: ‫לִשְׁמֹר‬ to guard. Temporal clause could be formed by attaching ְּ‫ב‬ (‫ )בֵּית‬and or ְּ‫ )כָּף( כ‬to the Infinitive Construct. c. With the use of the preposition ְ‫ ,)לָמֶד( ל‬it turns the Infinitive Construct to function somewhat like the English Infinitive, a wide range of meanings, such as purpose or result clause could be formed. This is the most frequently used of the Infinitive Construct in Modern Hebrew. d. Personal pronoun (pronominal) suffixes for the verbs could be added to the Infinitive Construct to form verbal clauses. Such suffix may function either as the subject or as the object of the infinitive. e. In a special combination, the infinitive (...‫לְ+הָיָה‬ß) is used for the expression of “to be about to,” “to be compelled to”.

‫ברוך בשם‬ Steffen Han June 2011 revised.

CHAPTER SEVEN: The Infinitive Construct


f. The Infinitive Construct may be used like the English gerundial meaning with the addition of "-ing" when it does not have person, gender, or number. g. A negative infinitive clause is formed by placing ‫ ,לְבִלְתִּי‬so as to not, or in order not, before the infinitive construct. h. In Modern Hebrew, the Infinitive Construct preceding an Imperfect Tense is used for emphasis as the way the Infinitive Absolute does, which is known as tautological infinitive in vernacular usage in Yiddish. 7.3 The Base Form As a mnemonic cue, the pattern of basic, default vowels of each derived stem of the verb (‫ ,)בניין‬including that of the pillion, stem syllable, is already reflected in the name of each binyan, and the head vowel of each binyan is given by default, which is immutable. Taking as an example the Qal Infinitive Construct, the head vowel is always a ‫ ;שווא נע‬so is the same with the vowel assigned to the prosthesis of each binyan. The apostrophe inserted in the English name of each respective binyan hints at the location of a hidden ׁ‫ .דָּגֵש‬This cue is useful when a given root has a weak consonant or a laryngeal in the '‫ ע‬position, which means mostly involving the Pi’el, Pu’al, Hithpa’el, the Hollow verb (including Polel and Polel verbs) and the Geminate verbs. The vowels are given by default in pairs of two vowels. Time well spent to study the vowels in the Infinitive Construct will be a great pay off later. The magic is the Hebrew language speaks vowels in pairs of two!
Vowel scheme of the Infinitive of the seven derived stems Hophal Hiphil Hitpa’el Pu’al Pi’el Ni’phal Qal

‫ברוך בשם‬ Steffen Han June 2011 revised.

‫קְטֹל הִקָּטֵל פַּעֵל פֻּעַל הִתְקַטֵּל הַקְטִיל הָקְטַל‬


Hebrew Verbal System

7.4 As observed earlier on, the default n Aramaic, the particle ‫ ל‬is vowels given in Pi’el by convention likewise used with the Aramaic is a pair of [ֵ○+ִ○] (‫)הִירִיק+צרי‬ Infinitive; but the prosthetic ‫,מ‬ where the ‫ דגש‬is omitted—due to the which is prefixed to the root but not presence of a guttural which might in feminine ending in the derived stems, is more conspicuous in have induced virtual lengthening to Imperial Aramaic to indicate an have occured—is in fact the default Infinitive, seemingly more so in vowels assigned to the Pi’el Perfect later dialects of the language, as Tense third person masculine singular; in Ezra 5:2, the verbal root ‫בנה‬ not the Pi’el Infinitive per se. The in the Infinitive is prefixed with ‫:מ‬ actual default vowels for the Hebrew ‫ לְמִבְנֵא‬to build. It seems that verbs in the Pi’el Infinitive is given a pair of derived stems in Aramaic would [ֵּ○+ַ○] (‫ )פתח+דגש+צרי‬as shown by carry a feminine ending, as in the the vowels in the sample word: ‫,קַטֵּל‬ sample: ‫ ,קַבָּלָה‬both in Pi’el (D) thus the Pi’el Infinitive Construct in and Hiphil (H) conjugations by Hebrew would be sounded as Pa’el: It suffixing ‫ –ָה‬to the root; and ‫ ת‬in feminine construct form. may be more practical to rename the Pi’el to Pa’el binyan if one is to insist that the Pi’el binyan should be studied from the perspective of the Infinitive Construct as the base form of the verb.

Side Bar


The Infinitives of the Strong or Regular Verb Hophal Hiphil Hitpa’el Pu’al Pi’el Niph’al


7.5 Given in the Table the highlighted syllable (CV and or CVC combination) at the head of the verbal root as the verbal prosthesis of each binyan is not part of the verbal root. Each binyan would be known or named by the prosthesis together with the default vowels.

‫ברוך בשם‬ Steffen Han June 2011 revised.

‫הִתְקַטֵּל הַקְטִיל הָקְטַל‬

(not in use)


‫קְטֹל הִקָּטֵל קַטֵּל‬

CHAPTER SEVEN: The Infinitive Construct


7.6 The Infinitive Construct is understood as the verbal building block in Hebrew, as the word ‫ הפועל בונים‬would suggest. The default vowels in the Infinitive Construct could be used independently without reference to the Infinitive Absolute, however. In the case of Qal Infinitive Construct, the two vowels [ֹ○+ְ○] (‫)הולם חסר+שווא נע‬ constituted a pair of default template to configure all other infinitive derivatives, as shown in the vowels in the following samples:

‫ קְטֹל‬or


7.7 The Preposition ְ‫ )לָמֶד( ל‬is optional: it is not part of the Infinitive, but a sign of it, quite similar in shape to the English Full Infinitive to build or to sing. In the ‫ ,תנ"ך‬it is used with the Infinitive Construct in most cases. The rules of contiguous ‫ שוואים‬would be applicable to the [ְ○] (‫ )שווא נע‬beneath the consonantal preposition ְ‫ .ל‬In this particular sample word, the vowel [ֹ‫ )חוֹלָם מָלֵא( ]ו‬is used because the word ‫ בְּנוֹת‬coincidentally is a ‫ ל"ה‬verb. 7.8 The Infinitive Construct of the Simple binyanim: Qal and Niphal As far as the pattern of vowel scheme goes, the shape of the Qal Infinitive Construct is actually a shortened form of the Qal Infinitive Absolute, acknowledging that there is no lack of dissident on this point. Its mechanic is very simple: the vowel [ָ○] (‫ )קָמַץ‬under the first consonant in the Infinitive Absolute is shortened to [ְ○] (‫נָע‬ ‫ ,)שְׁוָא‬as in the case with construct state of the noun. The pillion vowel the [ֹ○] (‫ )חוֹלָם חָסֵר‬in the Qal Infinitive Construct is the shorten version of [ֹ‫ ,)חוֹלָם מָלֵא( ]ו‬as expressed by the vowels in the sample word: ‫ )לְ(בְּנוֹת‬to build, which is the Hebrew word for the Infinitive Construct.

‫ברוך בשם‬ Steffen Han June 2011 revised.


Hebrew Verbal System

7.9 In the Qal binyan, except for the Qal Perfect Tense and the Qal Participles, the pair of default vowels in the Qal Infinitive Construct is going to be the base form for the construction of Qal Imperfect Tense, the Qal Imperative, the Qal Cohortative, the Qal Jussive and the Qal Wav Consecutives (also known as the Infinitive derivatives). The pattern would be applicable to all other binyanim as well. Be sure to make adjustment to the [ְ○] (‫ )שווא נע‬if the head consonant of the verbal root is a laryngeal or a guttural, or any one of the weak consonants. 7.10 The vowels in the Infinitive Construct of each verbal stem, such as the Pi’el, Pu’al, Hiphil and so on, would be used, as the way it is used in the Qal binyan, to setup other verbal forms under each binyan, for instance, the Pi’el Imperative or Pi’el Imperfect, etc. The pattern of the two default vowels—there are only a few pairs in each binyan—together with the consonantal prosthesis held the secret code to the mystery of the Hebrew verbs. 7.11 In the Qal binyan, when a given verbal root is headed by a guttural or a weak consonant, it is imperative to adjust the [ְ○] (‫ )שְׁוְָא נָע‬to a composite ‫ שווא‬in the head syllable which the verbal root inherited by default from the Infinitive Construct. When this happens, it calls into play the ‫ שווא‬rules to change the default head [ְ○] (‫)שְׁוְָא נָע‬ beneath the first consonant, which is vocal, to a suitable composite ‫ .שווא‬Only eight weak consonants, spliting into two groups, heading a verbal root are involved in this maneuver: ‫( א-ח-ה-ע-ר‬the ‫.)אהחער‬ These consonants are known as guttural consonants or the laryngeals. Verbs which carried any one of the following batch of consonants: ‫( י-ו-נ‬the ‫ )יונ‬at the head of the verbal root are also classified under the weak verb category. Verbs under the latter category required special attention for assimilation, transformation or abdication of these consonants. When more than two weak consonants are present in a verbal root, the weaker one of the two takes the preference in

‫ברוך בשם‬ Steffen Han June 2011 revised.

CHAPTER SEVEN: The Infinitive Construct


terms of classification. 7.12 By the same principle, whenever a weak or guttural consonant is present in a position other than the head of the root, the composite shewa rules and dagesh rules shall apply. 7.13 In some binyanim, mostly the passive stems, which do not have a sample of the Infinitive Construct, at least not being found in the ‫—תנ"ך‬probably because sentences composed in the ‫ תנ"ך‬did not warrant the use of those forms of the Infinitive Construct thus are not attested—the Infinitive Absolute is used instead. Infinitive Construct for Niph’al ‫בניין‬ ‫ל"ה ע"ח/ע ע"ע‬ ‫ל"א‬ ‫הִמָּצֵא הִבָּנוֹת הִבָּחֵר הִסֵּב‬ ‫פ"י/ו ל"ע/ח‬ ‫פ"ע/ח פ"נ‬ ‫קל‬ ‫הִקָּטֵל הֵעָזֵב הִנָּצֵל הִוָּשֵׁב הִשָּׁלַח‬

7.14 The Niph’al Infinitive Construct The Niph’al binyan is the passive form of Qal stem. Hence, it is the Simple Passive, but often acts like a transitive verb. Verbs in Niph’al could be used as reflexive verbs. In most cases of the Infinitive derivatives, the Niph’al is given a [ֵ○] (‫ )צרי‬as the stem vowel, which in effect it is being treated like an active voice. 7.15 The Niph’al format (b) (‫ )הִקָּטוֹל‬of the two Niph’al Infinitive Absolutes is used as the Infinitive Construct where the prosthesis [ְ‫ )נוּן( ]נ‬is already assimilated into the head consonant of the verbal root, leaving the prosthesis ‫ )הֵא( ה‬visible with [ֵ○] (‫ )צרי‬as the theme or stem vowel to constitute the default base unit, as shown in the sample word: ‫ .הִקָּטֵל‬Except in the Niph’al Perfect Tense and

‫ברוך בשם‬ Steffen Han June 2011 revised.


Hebrew Verbal System

Niph’al Participle would the [ְ‫ )נוּן( ]נ‬resurface, having abandoned the ‫ )הֵא( ה‬all together. In addition to the tri-consonantal root, the vowels of the double verbal prostheses at the head of a Niph’al verb would not subject to changes or mutation during conjugation. 7.16 On the other hand, the Niph’al format (a) (‫ )נִקְטוֹל‬of the Niph’al Infinitive Absolute is used as the base for the Niph’al Preterite with [ַ○] (‫ )פתח‬as the theme or stem vowel; and for Niph’al Participle with [ָ○] (‫ )קָמַץ‬as the key, pillion vowel. 7.17 In Hebrew verbs, it is more or less as a rule that the vowel [ַ○] (‫ )פתח‬is the key or theme vowel for the Perfect Tense: only in the Past Tense of "‫ ל‬verbs would there be a deviation from this general pattern; and the vowel [ָ○] (‫ )קָמַץ‬is always in one way or the other linked with the Participle, especially the passive participle, playing the role of pillion, stem vowel. 7.18 In the would vowel, in the

case of the Imperfect Tense, verbs outside the Qal binyan generally carry the vowel [ֵ○] (‫ )צרי‬as the stem, pillion especially the active form of each stems, as could be seen Niph’al Infinitive Construct.

7.20 Infinitive Construct of the Intensive Stem: Pi’el and Pu’al The default vowels for the Intensive stem is discernable from the

‫ברוך בשם‬ Steffen Han June 2011 revised.

7.19 The basic principle is such that the vowels in the Infinitive Construct of each stem would be used to install the Infinitive derivatives or the secondary forms of a verb, namely, the Imperative, the Jussive the Imperfect, etc.

CHAPTER SEVEN: The Infinitive Construct


nomenclature of the Pi’el Infinitive Construct, which stocked a [ַ○] (‫ )פתח‬at the head, open syllable (‫ ,)פְּתוּחָה הֲבָרָה‬whereas in the mixed, stem syllable (‫ )מֻרְכֶּבֶת‬it anchored a [ֵ○] (‫ )צרי‬and simultaneously embedded a ‫ דָּגֶש חָזָק‬atop the stem vowel. 7.21 Only in the head syllable of Pi’el Perfect Tense would the vowel [ִ○] (‫ )הִירִיק‬is used; but for all other forms, namely, the Pi’el Infinitive Construct, the Pi’el Imperative, the Pi’el Imperfect and the Pi’el Participle the vowel [ַ○] (‫ )פתח‬is used as the head vowel, deriving the default vowels from the Pi’el infinitive Construct, whereas vowel for the stem syllable is always a [ֵ○] (‫—)צרי‬as normally the way non-Qal binyanim would have while a ‫ דָּגֶש חָזָק‬hovers over it, which combination has almost became the key signature for Pi’el and Pu’al verbs. The prosthesis of each form would be prefixed to the root with out mutation to the default vowels in the Intensive binyanim. 7.22 The presence of ‫ דָּגֶש חָזָק‬suspending overhead of a [ֵ○] (‫ )צרי‬would affect verbs which root has any one of these ‫ א-ה-ח-ע-ר‬consonant in the '‫ ע‬position. The dagesh rules, namely, the compensatory lengthening (cl) or virtual doubling (vd), shall be called to duty in these cases.
‫ברוך בשם‬ Steffen Han June 2011 revised.

Infinitive Construct for Hithpa’el ‫ בניין‬compared with Pi’el ‫ל"ה‬ ‫ל" א‬ ‫ע" ע‬ ‫ע"ח/ע‬ (cl) ְ‫בָּרֵך‬ ‫ע"ח/ע‬ (vd) ‫קל‬

‫גַּלּוֹת‬ ‫הִתגּלַּוֹת‬ ְ





‫הִתקַטֵּל הִתנַחֵם הִתבָּרֵךְ הִתפַּלֵּל הִתמַצֵּא‬ ְ ְ ְ ְ ְ


Hebrew Verbal System

7.23 For verbs in Pu’al binyan, the head vowel is always a [ֻ○] (‫;)קֻבּוּץ‬ and the stem syllable is identical with that of the Pi’el ‫ :בִּנְיָן‬a [ֵ○] (‫ )צרי‬loaded with a ‫ דָּגֶש חָזָק‬dangling above it. The Pu’al Infinitive Construct has not been found in used in the ‫.תנ"ך‬ 7.24 The Infinitive Construct for the Reflexive stem is identical with that of the Pi’el, but with the addition of the prosthesis ְ‫ ,הִת‬a key signature for all active reflexive verbs in Hebrew. 7.25 Infinitive Construct of the Causative Stems: Hiphil and Hophal There are three prostheses in currency in the Causative binyan: one for the Active Causative: the ִ‫ ;ה‬two for the two forms of Passive Causative: ָ‫ ה‬and ֻ‫.ח‬
‫ע"י/ו‬ ‫הָקִים‬ Infinitive Construct for Hiphil ‫( בניין‬Hophal n. a.) ‫ע"ע‬ ‫ל"ה‬ ‫ל"א‬ ‫פ"י/ו ל"ח/ע‬ ‫פ"נ‬ ‫פ"ע/ח‬ ‫הַעֲמִיד הַצִיל הושִיב הַשְׁלִיחַ הַמְצִיא הַגְלוֹת הָסֵב‬ ׁ ֹ ּ ‫קל‬ ‫הַקְטִיל‬

7.26 The key feature of Hiphil binyan, the vowel [ִ○] (‫ ,)הִירִיק‬does not necessary appear in all verbal forms of the Hiphil binyan. It shows up only in vocalic sufformatives or in conjugation that does not involve the use of pronominal suffixes such as in the Hiphil Infinitive Construct, the Hiphil Imperative second feminine singular (2fs) you lady and second masculine plural (2mp) you men, the Hiphil Active Participle masculine singular (ms) man or masculine plural (mp) and feminine plural (fp) men and women; the Hiphil Imperfect Tense third person masculine singular (3ms) and third person feminine singular (3fs) he and she, second person masculine (2ms) and second person feminine singular (2fs) you man and lady; first person common singular (1cs) I, third person masculine plural

‫ברוך בשם‬ Steffen Han June 2011 revised.

CHAPTER SEVEN: The Infinitive Construct


(3mp) those men, second person masculine plural (2mp) you men, first person common plural (1cp) we; Hiphil Perfect Tense third person masculine singular (3ms) and third person feminine singular (3ms and 3fs) he and she; third person masculine plural (3mp) they. The only exception to this pattern is the second person singular masculine (2ms) you man in Hiphil Imperative, used as the stem vowel, which does not schlep vocalic suffixes but loads a [ֵ○] (‫.)צרי‬ Once again, more suitably, the Hiphil could be renamed as the Haphil stem, as hinted elsewhere in the study.
Qal Infinitive Construct for "‫ ל‬and other verbs ‫ל"ה‬ ‫ל"א‬ ‫/ח‬ ‫ל"ע‬ ‫ע"ח/ע ע"י/ו ע"ע‬ ‫קל‬

‫בּוֹא‬ ‫קְטֹל בְּחֹר שִׂים תֹּם שְׁלחַׁ מְצֹא בְּנוֹת‬ ‫שׂוּם סֹב‬ ‫קוּם‬
7.27 The Hophal Infinitive Construct has not been found in used in the ‫.תנ"ך‬ 7.28 The Infinitive Construct of Hebrew weak verbs
‫ברוך בשם‬ Steffen Han June 2011 revised.

A sample of Qal Infinitive Construct weak verbs: Compare the two default vowels with those used in the word: ‫ ,בְּנוֹת‬together with the composite ‫ שווא‬beneath the weak consonants. 7.29 Conventionally, verb form given in a Hebrew lexicon is in the third person masculine singular, hence the standard vowel pattern for verbs would duplicate the vowels in sample words: ‫ עָבַר‬for strong and


Hebrew Verbal System

dynamic verbs or ‫ עָבָר‬for weak verbs, but for many irregular or weak verbs and hollow verbs, however, entries in the lexicon are given in the Infinitive Construct, thus the vowels for these verbs would be identical those in the sample word: ‫ .בְּנוֹת‬In cases where a weak or guttural consonant takes the lead in a verbal root, ‫ שווא‬rules must be called to duty.

‫יָטַב‬ ׁ‫יָבֵש‬ ‫יָנֵק‬ ‫יָלַל‬ ‫יָשַׁר‬ ‫יָקַץ‬ ‫יָמַן‬

Original/true ‫ פ”י‬verbs

to to to to to to to

be good be dry suck groan be straight wake up go to the right

7.30 In the Qal binyan, the head vowel of the Infinitive Construct, which by default is given a ‫ ,שווא נע‬will be changed in response to the type of weak or gutturals present at the head of the verbal root, and most of the non-Qal verbs would carry a [ֵ○] (‫ )צֵרֵי‬as stem vowel, while Qal binyan would take a [ֹ○] (‫ )חולם חסר‬as the pillion vowel. 7.31 Except for the presence of a weak or guttural consonant in the head syllable of the verbal root, vowel pattern for the Infinitive Construct of the weak verbs, in whatever binyan it may be, is fairly consistent and predictable.

7.33 In the case of ‫ פ"י‬verbs, there are about well over eighty ‫ פ"י/ו‬verbs

‫ברוך בשם‬ Steffen Han June 2011 revised.

7.32 For verbs of ‫ פ"י/ו‬root in the Qal Perfect third masculine singular, only six or seven of these verbs are true ‫ פ"י‬verbs that come with a [‫ )יוד( ]י‬in the '‫ פ‬position of the verbal root in the Infinitive Construct; for the other verbs conventionally known as ‫ פ"י/ו‬would have a [‫ )יוד( ]י‬as the head consonant in the Infinitive Absolute. The original, true ‫ פ"י‬verbs are shown in the Table:

CHAPTER SEVEN: The Infinitive Construct


in currency in the ‫ ,תנ"ך‬occurring more than six thousand times. Some verb ended up in the Qal Perfect Tense third person masculine singular as ‫ פ"י‬verbs but are actually ‫ פ"ו‬verbs in the Infinitive Construct, taking the Infinitive as the base of the verb. There are only six or seven true ‫ פ"י‬verbs are in used in the ‫.תנ"ך‬ 7.34 For the Qal binyan, the vowel pattern for true ‫ פ"י‬verbs, that is the seven ‫ פ"י‬verbs which do not relinquish the consonant [‫)יוד( ]י‬ appearing in the '‫ פ‬position during conjugation, taking the Infinitive Construct as the base of the Sample of ‫ פ"י‬verbs in 3ms verbal root, would assume the ‫ יגע‬became weary standard default vowels used in the Qal Infinitive Construct, ‫ יעץ‬advise that is, imitating the vowels in ‫ ירא‬fear the sample word: ‫ ירש יְטֹב :בְּנוֹת‬to possessed, drive out is in the Infinitive Construct; ‫ ישן‬to fall asleep while ‫ יָטוֹב‬is in the Infinitive Absolute. 7.35 There is one group of verbs which seemingly has a [‫ )יוד( ]י‬in the lead position in the Perfecc Tense where the initial consonant [‫]י‬ (‫ )יוד‬is invisible in the Qal Infinitive Construct, that is, at the base of the verbal root. These verbs actually begin like a segolate noun with [‫ ]○ֶ○ֶת‬in Qal Infinitive Construct, both dynamic as well as stative verb, given a set of vowel pattern similar to feminine segholate nouns but without the [‫ ,)יוד( ]י‬similar to the vowels given in the sample word: ‫ .שֶׁבֶת‬The initial [‫ )יוד( ]י‬is visible in the Perfect Tense. Verbs of pseudo-‫ פ"י‬type also come under this pattern. 7.36 All together, there are about forty odd ‫ פ"י/ו‬verbs in used in the ‫.תנ"ך‬

‫ברוך בשם‬ Steffen Han June 2011 revised.


Hebrew Verbal System

7.37 Interestingly, when the preposition ְ‫ ל‬is prefixed to the Infinitive Construct, the vowel beneath the preposition would tote a [ָ○] (‫,)קמץ‬ as in the sample word: ‫ לָגֶ֫שֶׁת‬to draw near. 7.38 With the exception of ‫ ישר‬to be straight, which found to have appeared in the Qal, Hiphil as well as Pi’el and Pu’al, the other ‫פ"י‬ are confined to Qal and Hiphil as they are found in the ‫,תנ"ך‬ and few in the Niph’al binyan.

The Infinitive Construct of the Hebrew "‫ ל‬Verbs Inf Stem ‫ל"ה‬ ‫ל"א‬ ‫ל"ח/ע‬ Cons Qal ‫קְטֹל‬ (dynamic) Qal (Stative)

‫הִבָּנוֹת‬ ‫גַּלּוֹת‬

‫הִמָּצֵא‬ ‫מַצֵּא‬ ‫שַׁלַּח‬

‫הִקָּטֵל‬ ‫קַטֵּל‬

Niph’al Pi’el Pu’al

‫הִתְמַצֵּא הִתְגּלַּוֹת‬ ‫הַגְלוֹת‬

‫ הִתְקַטֵּל‬Hithpa’el
Hiphil Hophal Hophal
‫ברוך בשם‬ Steffen Han June 2011 revised.

‫הַקְטִיל הַשְׁלִיחַ הַמְצִיא‬ ‫הָקְטֵל‬ ‫הֻקְטֵל‬

7.39 The ‫ ל"ה‬verbs are another type of verbs which are given by default a feminine ending in the Infinitive Construct across all binyanim. The chief feature of this type of verbs is marked by the presence of the consonant ‫ )הֵא( ה‬at the end of the verbs in the third person masculine singular Perfect Tense of all binyanim, as the verb ‫בָּנָה‬ he built. hence derived the name ‫ ל"ה‬verbs, but not so at the base

CHAPTER SEVEN: The Infinitive Construct


form of the verb in the Infinitive Construct where the null onset ‫וֹת‬ is given, as shown by the sample word: ‫( )לִ(בְּנוֹת‬to) build. 7.40 Originally, ‫ ל"ה‬verbs did not end Sample of Infinitive in ‫ :)הֵא( ה‬these verbs actually Construct of ‫ ל"ה‬verbs ended in either [‫ )יוד( ]י‬or [‫ )וָו( ]ו‬to build, building ‫בנות‬ but relinquished it, in which place ‫בכות‬ the [‫ )הֵא( ]ה‬is used instead. The to weep, weeping consonant [‫ )הֵא( ]ה‬is added for the to go up, going up ‫עלות‬ role of a vowel; when it does the job to answer, answering ‫ענות‬ of a consonant, the [ ∙ ] (mappig) is to do, doing ‫עשות‬ embedded in [‫ )הֵא( ]ה‬and it looks ‫היות‬ like ּ‫ ה‬to distinguish it from its role to be, being as vowel. This dot is not a ‫ :דגש‬to see, seeing ‫ראות‬ it is called ‫ ,מפיק‬in which case the verb is treaded as ‫ פ"ח/ע‬verbs, as the sample word: ַּ‫ גָּבֹה‬exalted. 7.41 In the Qal Infinitive Construct for ‫ ל"ה‬verbs, however, assumed a null on set of null onset ‫ )חוֹלָם מָלֵא+תָּו( וֹת‬ending as the base form of the verb, example: ‫ ,בְּנוֹת‬together with the prosthesis of the respective binyan, if any. 7.42 The vowels of the Infinitive Construct of ‫ )פֵּא נוּן( פ"נ‬verbs are rather consistent with the vowel pattern of the regular, strong verbs of each binyan under this group of verbs, namely, ‫נ‬ ‫ת‬ reflecting the default vowels in the sample word: ‫ בְּנוֹת‬in the case of Qal binyan. There are a few ‫סעת נסע‬ verbs coming under the ‫ )פֵּא נוּן( פ"נ‬verb category, ‫געת נגע‬ however, are not given in this vowel pattern. There ‫טעת נטע‬ are two vowel formats for ‫ )פֵּא נוּן( פ"נ‬verbs in Qal ‫שאת נשא‬ Infinitive Construt. One of which is given without the ‫גשת‬ ‫ נוּן‬in the '‫ פ‬position, and it takes a ‫ ת‬ending instead and totes the vowel [ַ○] (‫ )פתח‬as the stem vowel ‫תת נתן‬

‫ברוך בשם‬ Steffen Han June 2011 revised.


Hebrew Verbal System

as the word: ‫ סַ֫עַת‬to depart, which in the Perfect third masculine singular would appear as ‫ נָסַע‬he departed; or another one sample word: ‫ תֵּת‬to give, which Qal Perfect Tense third person masculine singular would be ‫ נָתַן‬he took. The other format would be given the usually expected ‫ ,נוּן‬but ends in ‫ )עַיִן( ע‬as the vowels in the sample word: ַ‫.נְסֹע‬ 7.43 In ‫ )פֵּא נוּן( פ"נ‬verbs if the '‫ ע‬position is occupied by a guttural or weak consonant, and therefore, the ‫ )נוּן( נ‬does not assimilate. Generally, a ‫ )פֵּא נוּן( פ"נ‬verb is treated as stative verb and totes [ַ○] (‫ )פתח‬as the stem vowel. 7.44 Geminate verbs, apart from the standard head vowel, world carry a ‫ ,דגש חזק‬resulting from doubling of the two identical hind consonants. 7.45 For Hollow verbs, except Hollow Hiphil binyan which loads a [ָ○] (‫ )קָמַץ‬in the lead under the prosthesis ‫ )הֵא( ה‬and a [ִ○] (‫)הִירִיק‬ rides at the pillion forming a pair of [ִ○+ָ○] (‫ ,)קָמַץ+הִירִיק‬all other members of Hollow berb would have only one vowel since these verbs are monosyllable verb. Each ‫ בניין‬of the Hollow verbs (actually only Qal binyan is available other than the Hiphil binyan) would schlep the sole vowel following the default vowel type or class of Hollow verbs, namely, [ּ‫ )היריק מלא( ]○ִי[ ,)שׁוּרֶק( ]ו‬or [ֹ‫.)חולם מלא( ]ו‬ 7.46 Special cases of Irregular verbs a. The verb ‫ תֵּת‬to give is an irregular verb in the Hebrew language; not a ‫ )פֵּא נוּן( פ"נ‬verb as such but placed under

‫ברוך בשם‬ Steffen Han June 2011 revised.

CHAPTER SEVEN: The Infinitive Construct


this category in most grammar textbooks, considered as a special case for study. The vowel format in the word: ‫ תֵּת‬to give is the Qal Infinitive Construct for ‫ נָתוֹן‬to give, which is the Qal Infinitive Absolute, exhibiting the usual default vowel pattern for Qal Infinitive Absolute; its Qal Perfect Tense third person masculine singular is ‫ נָתַן‬he took. b. The verb ‫ לקח‬is the only verb in the ‫ תנ"ך‬belonged to ‫פ"ל‬ verb category. It is treated as ‫ פ"נ‬verbs in conjugation in the Qal and Hophal. c. For the root ‫ הלך‬to go, its Qal Infinitive Construct is ‫;לֶ֫כֶת‬ while the Qal Infinitive Absolute is ‫ הָלוֹך‬to go. 7.47 Except single-syllable verbs which used [ֹ‫ )חוֹלָם מָלֵא( ]ו‬in the syllable as the sole default vowel, for Qal Infinitive Absolute the default vowels would always be [ֹ‫ )קמץ+חוֹלָם מָלֵא( ]○ָ+ו‬dyad in both the weak and strong verbs. At the level of the Qal Infinitive Absolute, the few irregular verbs, like any other verbs, regular or other wise, load the standard default vowels for Qal Infinitive Absolute, displaying the vowels similar to the sample word: ‫ .מָקוֹר‬For the Niph’al the prosthesis ָ‫ הִו‬is given by default, which is immutable in the Infinitive Absolute, Infinitive Construct, the Imperative, the Imperfect. In the irregular verbs and the weak verbs, Niph’al verbs are generally treated with [ֵ○] (‫ )צרי‬as stem vowel. 7.48 verbs appeared regular in the Intensive Stems, but not necessarily so in the Causative stems. In the Infinitive Absolute, the Hiphil stem is given ֹ‫ הו‬as the prosthesis, which is immutable.

‫ברוך בשם‬ Steffen Han June 2011 revised.

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